#34 What is business development all about? ft. Robert Baldwin

  • Pierce Ujjainwalla

    Pierce Ujjainwalla

    Co-Founder & CEO, Knak

Published Mar 8, 2022

#34 What is business development all about? ft. Robert Baldwin

For Robert Baldwin, VP of Business Development at Knaxis, the real driver behind sales is a passion for helping people. If your goal isn’t to help people solve their issues (ideally with the product you’re trying to sell), then you’re in it for the wrong reasons. The thing is, people can tell if you’re trying to just push a product on them so that you can cash out on the transaction. They can also tell if you’re clearly invested in enabling them to do what they already do, but better.

In this latest episode of the Unsubscribed! Podcast, Rob walks Pierce through what it means to run a leading business development team, how BD and marketing can work together and why it’s so important not to default to the obvious messaging. Check it out.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

1) What effective business development is

2) Why it’s so important to surprise your prospects with new information

3) What it looks like when business development reports into your CMO

Show Notes

Through the course of his career, Robert Baldwin has seen business development transform from a typically outsourced function to a critical element of in-house pipeline building. And in his current role as VP of Business Development at Knaxis, he’s built a team that’s hyperfocused on helping their prospects find solutions to their problems. To him, selling products and helping people are intrinsically linked – and he’s made an art of combining the two.

During this episode of the Unsubscribed! Podcast, Rob gives us a fantastic lesson on what business development is, how it’s developed over the years, and the increasingly important partnership this function has with the marketing team.

One piece of advice he shares in the episode is to use the opposite of the obvious. Let’s break that down. When you’re sharing materials with a prospect or telling them something about the problem they might be facing, it should be information that’s new to them – don’t tell them what they already know. You should be encouraging responses such as “I never thought of it that way” or “Wow, I didn’t know that,” because that builds trust and encourages a deeper conversation about how you can help them solve that particular problem.

Another important piece of the puzzle? You have to be genuinely curious. For Rob, it’s the people that really want to learn about their prospects, the industry they operate in, and how their business runs that are most likely to ask the right questions and get further down the line. This is a trait he’s learned to identify when he’s interviewing a potential hire. “If they’re someone that takes over the interview with their own questions, then that’s a good sign,” he says.

Lastly, Rob tells us that in sales it’s important to be comfortable with rejection. While it might feel personal, rejection is rarely that. It’s important to remember that they’re not saying no to you and your ideas, they’re saying no to their day being interrupted in that particular moment. That said, if it feels like you’re not getting anywhere with the approach you’re taking, you should be bold enough to try new things and explore avenues that might get you to the all-important “yes.”

Check out the latest episode for more advice from Rob – it’s a good one!

Follow Robert on LinkedIn.

Thanks for listening to Unsubscribed! – a podcast created by Knak. If you enjoyed this episode, please do subscribe and leave a review on your favourite podcast player. If you have any feedback, or want to chat, feel free to reach out to Pierce on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @marketing_101.

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  • Pierce Ujjainwalla


    Pierce Ujjainwalla

    Co-Founder & CEO, Knak

    Pierce is a career marketer who has lived in the marketing trenches at companies like IBM, SAP, NVIDIA, and Marketo. He launched Knak in 2015 as a platform designed to help Marketers simplify email creation. He is also the founder of Revenue Pulse, a marketing operations consultancy.